A month after its phreatic eruption devastated Batangas, the Taal Volcano remains on Alert Level 3 as per an official post by PHIVOLCS last Sunday, February 9. Given that it's a prime spot for scenic destination weddings, couples with nuptials around the area during the ongoing eruption managed to bravely push through with their vows. However, while these pairs were caught off guard, seasoned wedding planners like Rhed Sarmiento highly discourage setting up any more upcoming events in the area until further notice.
In fact, PHIVOLCS’ recent bulletin suggests the same, stating “entry into the Taal Volcano Island as well as into areas over Taal Lake and communities west of the island within a seven km radius from the Main Crater must be strictly prohibited.” They also reiterated the continued possibility of volcanic earthquakes, ashfall, and lethal volcanic gas expulsions occuring within and around the island.
For couples who’ve spent a tedious amounts of time planning their wedding in Tagaytay before the eruption, the question remains, what do they do next and how should they proceed with their wedding plans?
Having been in the wedding industry for over 25 years, wedding coordinator Rita Neri gives us sound advice on the matter.
Review your suppliers contracts.
Before you make a decision on whether to push through or not, it’s best to review the existing contracts you have with your suppliers. “ Look for the policies affecting refunds and postponements and how it applies to your situation since most will have a deadline stipulation,” Rita suggests. Where some suppliers might agree to a refund, others may remain stringent and still ask you for a fee if you choose to cancel your wedding for the time being. “Put your request in writing and if you really wish to not proceed, get a lawyer to write them so they know you are quite serious about this matter.”
Consult with your parents.
It’s always a good idea to get your parents’ advice on the matter, especially if they’re paying for part of the wedding. “I advise most couples to still consult with their parents on how to proceed. Whether the couple or their parents are paying for all, or some of the wedding expenses, it still affects them because they’ve no doubt also invited their own guests.”
Relocate to another venue outside of Batangas.
According to Rita, the best option for couples who still have their hearts set on a Tagaytay wedding is to relocate altogether. “A volcano that may or may not erupt means a situation that is lengthy, unpredictable and life threatening. It is [much] like a flood, typhoon or fire that one cannot predict and take precautionary steps. Postponement is still not a guarantee that your problem is solved since the volcano may end up erupting during the postponement date,” she explains. “Plus the surrounding areas may be totally devastated. Relocation would be the best option in this case.”
Move to areas with available clubs and resorts for an easier transition.
When it comes to moving your wedding elsewhere, Rita suggests transferring somewhere up north. “The best venues to choose from are those in Metro Manila (Alabang, Antipolo, Marikina) and up north like Subic, Pampanga and Baguio. Even the Rizal province area like Baras, Tanay and Quezon are viable options,” she tells Preview. For couples who insist on a destination wedding, areas within driving distance from Manila, these could also be viable options. Rita specifically enumerates Laguna, Quezon, Subic and Baguio considering they have resorts, clubs, and hotels that can readily accommodate weddings.
Check in with your guests and suppliers.
Keep in mind that while the decision is ultimately up to you and your partner, should you push through with your ceremony in Batangas, there’s no guaranteeing a hundred percent attendance from all your guests, nor should you expect it from them either. Not to mention suppliers might ask you to pay for additional fees.
“Based on feedback, couples who proceeded with their wedding had a lot of guests not attending, with an almost 50% no show. Plus, suppliers charged them additional fees to cover their event insurance,” Rita reveals. “I suggest that should they proceed, they must make an effort to call all invited guests to check their attendance plus allay any fears the guests may have. It also would be better of the couple also gets an event insurance.”